Christine Marie Elliott named after His Holiness Benedict XVI

Sister Marie BenedictMERIDEN, CT (03-23-2013) - On the vigil of Palm Sunday, Christine Marie Elliott was received into the novitiate of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist in a private ceremony during Evening Prayer in the Chapel of St. John. Christine Marie read her request to take this next step in formation in the presence of the Franciscan Sisters, the Franciscan Brothers and Reverend Dennis Yurochko. In addressing her request to Mother Shaun Vergauwen, Mother General, Christine expressed her gratitude for the spiritual growth she has experienced during pre-postulancy and postulancy as an experience of loving and being loved, saying that “my heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready.” She referred to the “historic moment” the past few weeks have been for the Church and the gift this time has been for her to experience with the Community the deep meaning unfolding each day.

Father Dennis blessed the new habit, veil and cincture with which Christine would be clothed. When Christine returned to the chapel wearing the blessed habit, Mother Shaun announced that Christine had alluded to the name she would be given by referring to “this historic moment for the Church.” Mother Shaun then named her Sister Marie Benedict.

Sister Marie Benedict given her name

(Above) Christine Marie listens eagerly as Mother Shaun Vergauwen announces her new name, Sister Marie Benedict. (Below) Sister Marie Benedict responds with joy.

Sister Marie Benedict

Sister Marie Benedict is the daughter of William and Angela Elliott of Fairfax, Virginia, and had been a member of St. Mark Parish, Vienna, Virginia. As a child, Sister Marie Benedict lived with her parents and brother Jonathan not only in Virginia, but in Botswana, Jordan and South Africa as her father’s work with the U.S. Agency for International Development included assignments in those countries. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia, after which time she worked as a volunteer at The Love of Christ Children’s House in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Nyumbani Children’s Home in Nairobi, Kenya. Returning to the United States, she served internships at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development and at Bread for the World, an anti-hunger group based in Washington, D.C. which focuses on policy related to food distribution and hunger. Sister Marie Benedict then worked for three years as the Director of Care for Creation for Franciscan Action Network (FAN), also based in Washington, D.C. FAN is a coalition of Franciscan communities who address U.S. policy issues related to justice, peace and care for creation.

As a canonical novice, Sister Marie Benedict will spend the next year intensifying her understanding of religious life as lived through the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience within community life.

Christine Elliott requests novitiate
Christine Marie Elliott makes her request for novitiate into the hands of Mother Shaun Vergauwen.
Sister Marie Benedict
Sister Marie Benedict and Mother Shaun Vergauwen.
FSE Novices
Fellow novices welcome Sister Marie Benedict. From left, Sister Faith Marie Woolsey,
Sister Marie Benedict, Sister Mary Peter Ryan and Sister Mary Kolbe Heffern.
  Sister Marie Benedict
Sister Marie Benedict poses for photos after the ceremony.
Sister Marie Benedict